U.S. tugboat Nathan E. Stewart sits on the bottom off Bella Bella Oct. 28

VIDEO: Clark has ‘no complaints’ on marine safety plan

Coast Guard to lease two heavy tugs, add equipment for Atlantic and Pacific marine safety and spill response




Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s upgrade to marine spill response includes “Indigenous Community Response Teams” and improved towing capacity for Canadian Coast Guard vessels, but falls well short of the three heavy salvage tugboats the B.C. government was asking for.

After an announced federal plan that seemed considerably less than what B.C. officials had requested of Ottawa, Premier Christy Clark said Monday she is pleased with the progress after years of requests for more resources.

A briefing from federal officials left her confident that “the bulk of the benefits” will go to the Pacific coast, including one of the new heavy rescue tugs and towing upgrades to four Coast Guard vessels, she said.

“I have to say I have no cause for complaint with what we’ve seen today,” Clark told reporters.

Funded with $1.5 billion over three years, the plan announced by Trudeau in Vancouver Monday also includes upgrades on the Atlantic coast and the Arctic. It proposed to lease two new large vessels capable of towing commercial vessels and large container ships, but it was not immediately clear whether either of those would be stationed on the B.C. coast.

Trudeau acknowledged repeatedly that the improvements to shipping safety and emergency response are overdue.

“Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and it’s a poorly kept secret that we haven’t done enough to protect it,” Trudeau said after touring Vancouver Harbour aboard a Coast Guard vessel.

The plan refers to adding towing equipment to existing Coast Guard ships, improving marine traffic monitoring with new radar sites and placing additional emergency and enforcement officers on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

RELATED: B.C. has been ‘cheated’ on marine safety: Christy Clark

The B.C. government had been seeking three new heavy rescue tugboats for the West Coast, and upgrading of the Prince Rupert Coast Guard station. The province’s proposal was based on a three-hour window to respond when vessels lose power or are grounded, to prevent most spills of fuel or cargo even in the worst weather conditions.

Trudeau said the response to the sinking of a U.S. tugboat Nathan E. Stewart, pushing a barge south from Alaska, was “unacceptable” and the new plan is the biggest investment in Canadian history for marine environmental protection.

 

Just Posted

Free entrepreneurship program for Indigenous women

Women from across B.C.’s southern interior can apply for the free program

Student produces gun at Princeton Secondary School

Starter pistol confiscated, RCMP are investigating

B.C. Lions talk to Penticton kids about life choices

Three B.C. Lions were in Penticton Tuesday to talk to young people about life choices

Town seeks meeting with crisis assistance

Request for liaison tabled at meeting

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

Penticton Speedway cleaning up landslide

Owner Johnny Aantjes expects the slide to be cleaned up in time for the next race on Sunday

New acts join Roots and Blues Festival lineup

An eclectic mix of musicians added to Salmon Arm’s slate

Fighting racism is society’s job

BC Hockey’s plan to provide an education package makes a good first step

Proclaimers walk through the Okanagan

The Proclaimers play Vernon Sept. 11. Tickets on sale now through the Ticket Seller

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Most Read